Album Review: Nai Harvest – “Hold Open My Head”

A two piece that sounds surprisingly full for the lack of members, this duo out of the UK have released a 4 song EP, Hold Open My Head, that is haunting and oddly beautiful to listen to in the middle of a long and gloomy winter. Nai Harvest is reminiscent of the sound of indie/emo music coming out of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in a way that’s a bit too mimic-y to be great, but still interesting on its own.

Unlike many other small bands, Nai Harvest isn’t playing loud to mask the absence of additional instruments. Instead the use of the instruments present is thoughtful, quietly weaving sounds together so they sound grander than their tiny beginnings. Garage band melody and soulful crooning give way to faster drumming and solid rhythms, before sinking back into hazy, lazy emo.

The EP feels a bit like two albums; the title track, and the opening song “Rush” remain fairly mid-tempo. “Rush” is a truly interesting song, and it is from tracks such as this the band gets its “maybe-indie, maybe garage, not purely emo” labeling. The later tracks, “I Don’t Even Know” and “Pastel” begin painfully slow before speaking up about two minutes in, and then dropping off all-together after another minute.

“Pastel,” one of the four tracks on the 15 minute EP, starts off painfully slow before building and sinking back down again. While the lyrics come out mostly as nostalgic moans about pain, death and crushing emotions, the beat is direct and forces out a little foot tapping action. The more interesting section starts around two minutes in, where the cymbals become more deliberate and frenzied, and the lyrics seem to fall away altogether in favor of long choruses of ohs.  None of the drumming or guitar work is inventive or groundbreaking, but there is something pleasant in its comfortable familiarity.

“I Don’t Even Know” seems like a reenactment of Midtown or the Juliana Theory, before building into rapid kick drums. For Nai Harvest a formula has been constructed and rarely deviated from; be deliberate, and mournful.

Nai Harvest will head out on a European tour next month.

3/5 Stars – Listen below.

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